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Welsch/Bieneck into U19 main draw with a little help from ‘big sis’ Victoria

Germany's Leonie Welsch (left) and Constanze Bieneck were one the four teams to qualify for main draw
Porto, Portugal, July 29, 2014 - Leonie Welsch and Constanze Bieneck made it into the main draw of the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships in Porto on Tuesday. The German team won both qualification matches against Norway’s Sorbo/Thelle (21-8, 21-17) and Turkey’s Cetin/Yurtsever (21-16, 21-13).

“It was really hot, but we had fun”, said Welsch. “We won both games. We weren’t that happy with our play in our first match, but the second was better.”

“I think we had a good service and handled the wind better”, Bieneck said about the match against Turkey. “There were not really hard balls from them, but that was probably because of the wind. I think in general we played a more mature game than them”, Welsch added.

For 18-year old Bieneck Porto is her first international beach volleyball experience, but her big sister Victoria Bieneck, a regular on the FIVB World Tour and winner of the U23 World Championships last year, prepared her for this debut.

“She helps me because it’s my first international tournament and I was nervous”, Bieneck said. “She tells me to stay calm, have fun and most of all enjoy it.”

Welsch, also 18, has some more experience. “I played the CEV European Championships last year and the qualification for the Youth Olympic Games.” Welsch qualified for the olympic event in Nanjing, but does not get to go. Sarah Schneider, her partner at the olympic qualification event, will go with Lisa Arnholdt.

“Last year the teams were different”, explained Welsch. “Now they decided this, but I think we are all happy.”

Brazil has high aspirations

Brazil also advanced a second team into main draw. Paula Moniz Hoffmann, who finished 5th at the U19 last year, and 16-year old newcomer Ana Patricia Silva Ramos defeated Australia’s Maher/Weiler (21-18, 21-14) and Italy’s Frasca/Giometti (21-18, 19-21, 15-6).

The last match was a tough one. “The whole game was balanced, the other team was really good”, said Ana Patricia. “In the end they gave in because they were a lot more tired than us and we were able to lead the game.”

“We were all very tired because of the heat”, Hoffmann added. “But that’s part of beach volleyball. And in the end we were able to open up more.”

Their goal here in Porto is clear, said Ana Patricia. “We want to go for the title of course.” Hoffmann: “We will do our best to get the best placement possible. The first step is the semifinals. And if god is willing, maybe a podium place.”

Russia’s Daria Mastikova and Elizaveta Novikova also made it to the main draw. They defeated the Zilberman-twins from Israel (21-8, 21-7) and Norway’s Helland-Hansen/Perrens (21-13, 21-17).

The fourth team to qualify was Viktoryia Shalayeuskaya and Viktoryia Siakretava from Belarus with two wins over Croatia’s Culo/Radanovic (21-13, 21-8) and Poland’s Pietroczuk/Stepien (21-16, 21-19).

Sunday’s gold medal winner at the U21 World Championships in Larnaka, Canada’s Tia Miric, was eliminated in the first qualification round by USA’s Sponcil/Eager. The Americans lost later on and did not make it to main draw either.

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